Boston Bruins - Detroit Red Wings
This is the final series to get underway and two of the NHL's Original Six come into the playoffs from very different angles. As the possessors of the league's best regular season record Boston can expect to start every season at home, the Red Wings are one of only two teams to qualify who had a better road than home record and are grounded enough to not be phased by facing the Cup favourites.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg is unlikely to play a part in this series for Detroit but Pavel Datsyuk is at least available, supporting the red hot Gustav Nyquist is a chief aim as the Swede's teammates need to repay him for sensationally leading the charge to get here. After looking like an unstoppable juggernaut through March a stretch of two wins from seven including a loss in Detroit suggests the Bruins aren't as nailed on to represent the East as many expect.
The basis of that assumption is when they do play to full capacity no team from their conference can match them in the possession game so they dominate proceedings, if you're taking Boston it's worth handicapping them for a bigger payout. Personally because the Red Wings were impervious to that through the season series I think this will be more of a nervy opener and the odds of 4.00 on it going to overtime seem good value.
Anaheim Ducks - Dallas Stars
Up 1-0 after Wednesday's 4-3 victory the Ducks are looking to maximise the Honda Center buzz and make sure they head to Texas in two days time with a secure lead.
A hot start in Game 1 turned into an advantage that ultimately proved too much for the Stars to pull back, but not before Bruce Boudreau was made to sweat it out. He must've been pleased with his team's effort despite presumably having to deal out a speech about maintaining focus.
Dallas will take the positives from almost completing a great in-game comeback and will also argue that clinical shooting was the only difference in the earlier stages, I don't necessarily agree with that assessment but there's no doubting they proved they could compete later on. As expected the dynamic duos of Getzlaf and Perry for Anaheim versus Benn and Seguin for Dallas took centre stage with each contributing to multiple tallies in some form, in the end I do believe it will be whoever gets the more telling contributions from outside their leaders who progresses.
On paper the Ducks are much better equipped to do that as guys like 2nd and 3rd line centermen Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perrault proved two night ago so back Anaheim to get it done again.
Best Bet: Anaheim Ducks to win at 1.92